Google said on Thursday it would make changes to how it handles sexual harassment claims, a week after thousands of its employees around the world walked off their jobs to protest its response to such issues.
In an email sent to Google employees, Google CEO Sundar Pichai provided information about the changes Google is making in order to improve.
Gogole promised to make arbitration optional for individual sexual harassment and sexual assault claims. Google has never required confidentiality in the arbitration process and arbitration still may be the best path for a number of reasons (e.g. personal privacy) but, Google says that the choice should be up the employees.
Google will also provide more granularity around sexual harassment investigations and outcomes at the company as part of its Investigations Report. The company will
overhaul its reporting channels by bringing them together on one dedicated site and including live support. Google will enhance the processes the company uses to handle concerns—including the ability for Googlers to be accompanied by a support person. And will also offer extra care and resources for Googlers during and after the process. This includes extended counseling and career support.
The company will also update and expand its mandatory sexual harassment training. Google employees who don’t complete their training, will receive a one-rating dock in Perf - Google's performance review system.
Lastly, Google will recommit to its company-wide OKR around diversity, equity and inclusion again in 2019, focused on improving representation—through hiring, progression and retention—and creating a more inclusive culture for everyone.
"Going forward, we will provide more transparency on how we handle concerns. We’ll give better support and care to the people who raise them. And we will double down on our commitment to be a representative, equitable, and respectful workplace," Pichai said.
Google got caught in the crosshairs two weeks ago after The New York Times detailed allegations of sexual misconduct about the creator of Google's Android software, Andy Rubin. The newspaper said Rubin received a $90 million severance package in 2014 after Google concluded the accusations were credible. Rubin has denied the allegations.